A STORY ABOUT A REAL MAN 33 He kept his pistol cocked, but it is doubtful whether he would have been able to use it on that first night in the forest. He slept like a log and heard neither the steady rustling of the pines, nor the hooting of an owl some- where near the road, nor the distant howling of wolves— none of the noises of the forest that filled the dense, im- penetrable darkness which closely enveloped him. He woke with a start, as if somebody had shaken him, as soon as the first streaks of dawn appeared and the trees loomed in vague silhouettes in the frosty gloom. On waking he remembered what had happened to him, and where he was, and the carelessness with which he had spent the night in the forest frightened him. The intense cold penetrated his fur-lined flying suit and pierced him to the marrow. He shivered as if with ague. But the worst were his feet; the pain was more acute than ever, even now when he was at rest. The very thought of having to stand up terrified him. But he rose resolutely, with a wrench, in the same way as he had torn the boots from his feet the day before. Time was precious. To all the torments that had afflicted Alexei was added that of hunger. The day before, when he had covered the nurse's body with the ground sheet, he had seen a canvas Red Cross satchel lying by her side. Some small animal had already busied itself with it and crumbs were scattered on the snow near some holes the animal had gnawed. Alexei had paid scarcely any attention to this the day before, but now he picked the satchel up and found in it several field dressings, a large tin of meat, a packet of letters and a small mirror, at the back of which was the photograph of a thin-faced, aged woman. Evidently the satchel had also contained some bread, but the birds or animals had made short work of that. Alexei put the tin and the bandages into the pockets of his flying suit, saying to himself: "Thank you, dear," adjusted the ground sheet which the wind had blown off the young woman's feet, and made his way slowly towards the east, which was already ablaze with orange-coloured flame behind the network of tree branches. He now possessed a kilogram tin of meat, and he re- solved to eat once a day, at noon.